Could this 1964 Corvette be a Chevrolet “styling car”? Todd Baggett wanted to know, of course, after finding some telltale signs of a factory custom build. But, Todd hadn’t been tracking down this ’64 for part of two decades looking for a special factory build, anyway. No, he had been tracking down the very ’64 Daytona Blue convertible his father bought brand new in Ecorse, Michigan, in December 1963. Faint memories from his childhood were so beguiling, Todd refused to give up hope. He had seen photos and film of this Vette his whole life. Luckily, Todd’s father had the original bill of sale, a welcome letter from Chevrolet, an owner’s card, even an original “stick pin” his father got with the Vette.
So, in 1995, Todd decided to track down the ’64 Corvette. As Todd told us, “My hopes were to find it for my father so he could experience the vehicle once again. However, it’s very hard to find a specific vehicle when all you have is the VIN. I didn’t know where it was, or if it was still around.”
The quest for the ’64 didn’t take off until six or seven years ago when Todd “stumbled on a Corvette Registry” site for 1963-1967 Mid-Years. Numerous times Todd had inserted the VIN into his Google search engine, each time getting no hits. Then, the third week of January 2014, Todd got an email from a member of the Registry stating that he knew where Todd’s father’s ’64 Corvette was. This man was thinking about purchasing the vehicle and had seen the car along with the VIN. “He was a very kind individual to send me the link after he found out my story,” Todd recalled.
Of course, 1964 model Corvettes are not exactly rare, especially in carbureted small-block convertibles. This man could find another example, and maybe at a better deal to boot. Plus, nobody thought the stripe on the center of the hood and the “GM Engineering Staff” sticker on the back of the rearview mirror pointed to a factory custom build. Todd knew nothing of these special features. In fact, he had a good friend named Wayne in Richmond, Virginia, go look at the Vette for him. Oddly enough, the owner of the ’64 knew Wayne, a fellow car collector. Buyer and seller agreed on a price and Todd sold his ’07 Vette to fund the deal. The vehicle arrived on a transport to Todd’s house in Connecticut on February 2, 2014. He was ecstatic and could hardly believe he now owned his father’s ’64 Vette, the car he remembered so fondly from his early childhood.
After a while, Todd wondered about the GM Engineering sticker and the white stripe on the center of the hood. He recalled a similar ’64 model Vette in this column that was a “Styling” car, referring to a unique custom build at the factory by Chevrolet. Executives at Chevrolet, as well as certain celebrities got special modifications for their Corvettes in this era.
I inspected the photos, hopeful of uncovering another styling Vette. I forwarded these photos to Werner Meier, the hobby’s expert on factory modified “styling” Vettes of the mid-1960s. Werner is a former GM engineer who owns “Masterworks Automotive Services” in Madison Heights, Michigan. Werner has restored more of these styling cars and knows more about them than anybody in the world.
Meier guesses this ’64 convertible belonged “to a guy at E-Staff” and the sticker on the back of the mirror was his parking pass. Also, the grille appears to be a ’66/’67, not one of the grilles Chevrolet used on the styling cars of that year. More than likely, the car was hit in the front and with a new grille came a new paintjob and possibly the stripe. Also, the white stripe on the hood is not a match to the stripes on the styling cars, which featured a pinstripe around the stripe’s perimeter and did not encompass the whole bulge in the hood. Most of the styling cars came with other features, such as an identifying “Chevrolet Engineering Center” aluminum plate under the hood and metal grates in the foot wells. Although probably not a styling car, this ’64 is still a great Rare Find for Todd Baggett. As Todd stated, “Unbelievable, after looking for so long and then to sit behind the wheel of the car where my dad was the first owner of it, was just fantastic. My mother is still around, so I was able to give her the first ride in it, so that was a lot of fun.”